Sunday, January 24, 2010

Job No. 87 - Staff Captain

For the briefest of moments today I considered taking up Booz Allen Hamilton's frighteningly interesting offer of being a Nuclear Survivability Analyst.

But, upon more careful consideration, I realised that this was a career that could expose me to terrible dangers. I mean, do they think I'm stupid? Do they not realise I have read The Incredible Hulk? One minute you're a Nuclear Survivability Analyst, shoved out on the test range to be exposed to a top secret Gamma Bomb, the next you're bursting out of your clothes (apart from in the rude places, which is rather handy) and transforming into a large, rather angry, green man. And since I have too few clothes as it is in my wardrobe, I decided to give Nuclear Survivability a wide berth...

Instead, I decided that perhaps, after a life trying to deny the fact, a sailor's life was for me...

You see, V. Hospitality were looking for a Staff Captain to serve on one of their European Cruise Liners. Admittedly, they were looking for a German speaking Staff Captain but I figured that I could always brush up my German skills (gained while I was 14, studying German for a year and missing at least half the classes) between now and the interview. I'll simply re-watch a few old WWII films and, before you know it, I'll be 'Schweinhund'-ing and 'Gott in Himmler'-ing with the best of them...

With the language barrier smoothly dealt with, I was pleased to see that, while previous passenger vessel experience was appreciated it was by no means essential. Now all that remained was to find out exactly what a Staff Captain does...

After a bit of googling, I stumbled across this interview with a Staff Captain which confirmed to me that - not only do you get to wear a natty uniform - but that being a Staff Captain is a ridiculously easy job; at sea, the Staff Captain is responsible for making sure that "the ship is going the right speed in the right direction..."

I once had a go with a remote controlled speed boat, and there was one time that I rowed a boat (although, saying that, we did lose one of the oars and spend most of our allotted time rowing in circles trying to get it back). Surely keeping a 60,000 ton cruise liner pointed in the right direction was going to be pretty much the same (as long as they didn't try to baffle me with all this port and starboard nonsense)?

Confident in my abilities, I was ready to fire off an application letter that extolled my, numerous, virtues - only to find that the application process was handled through a series of online forms. Surely, I thought to myself, such a sterile, mechanical process couldn't serve to distinguish the flotsam from the jetsam - so, I decided I needed to make sure that my application stood out. Fortunately, it was possible to include a photo of oneself on your job profile so - with a bit of the digital wizardry that so nearly got me job as a photo editor - I spruced myself up maritime-styley and, before you could say, "Iceberg, right ahead!" I was ready to set sail as a Staff Captain...

So, I think it's only a matter of time before I'll be saying Auf Weidersehen to you land lubbers and setting sail to live the wild life of a sailor. Arr matey!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Job No.86 - Associate Designer, Men's Bottoms

A vague perusal of the jobs available at New Scientist turned up the not entirely interesting, yet certainly lucrative, role of Ice Sheet Research Scientist which is paid up to $140,000 (in Australian dollars). As far as I could ascertain, the Ice Sheet Research Scientist spends his, or her, time watching the 'dynamic processes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet' - which seems to me to be the scientific equivalent of watching paint dry. I tried to imagine how my journal would look:

Day 1. Went out and looked at the ice. It wasn't doing much today.
Day 2. Ice still there. Quite cold. Looks pretty much the same as yesterday.
Day 3. Ice hasn't really changed. The ice sheet not quite as dynamic as I had hoped.
Day 4. You'll never guess what I looked at today. That's right. Ice.
Day 5. I spy with my little eye, something beginning with I...

I decided that, by Day 6, I would already be inventing mysteriously appearing chasms and alien corpses entombed in the ice sheet - basically, anything to relieve the endless monotony of staring at a big chunk of unmoving ice. Which was enough to convince me that I was probably not cut out for life in the Antarctic wilderness...

Thankfully, Phillips-Van Heusen (owners of a gazillion brands including Calvin Klein) had a rearly interesting position available - Associate Designer, Men's Bottoms. Now this, I thought to myself, was something I could really sink my teeth into.

With my extensive game design experience, I was certain that it would not be a huge leap to the business of designing bottoms (at the very least, I was sure that I wouldn't make a complete arse of myself); the same core principles would undoubtedly apply whether you're designing the perfect first-person shooter or the perfect posterior...

Understanding your audience is, I think, key - there's no point designing a range of athletic, taut buttocks (capable of cracking a walnut with ease) if your audience is largely composed of elderly males whose sedentary lifestyle is likely to require an altogether more padded and ergonomically designed bottom.

I also think it's important to try and think out of the box and try to innovate - to think where the combination of technology and man-made buttocks could take us. So, taking a leaf out of the manufacturers of La-Z-Boy recliners, I thought it might be useful to consider a range of innovations (taking bottoms to the next level, so to speak) such as built-in massage functionality, heating systems (for those cold mornings sat on a leather couch) and even - perhaps through clever use of motion sensing sensors - the use of buttocks as a wireless control device (moving your bottom acts to move the cursor on the screen, twitch the left buttock to left click, etc.). I was certain PVH would be intrigued by my fresh approach:

Dear Sir/Madam

I wish to apply for the position of Associate Designer - Men's Bottoms, as advertised within the New York Times.

I have an extensive background in design - and am thoroughly versed in software such as Adobe Photoshop. I also believe that I could bring a fresh approach to the designing of men's bottoms.

My previous experience has taught me the value of understanding your customer and of ensuring that you innovate - and I have a number of cutting-edge design ideas that are all about the interface of modern technology and men's bottoms.

I think that I could help you produce something rearly special...



Now I just have to sit and wait, hoping my application won't become the butt of jokes and that PVH will write back to invite me to join them in men's bottoms...

Friday, January 08, 2010

Job No. 85 - Centre Chair

While sifting the job related wheat from the chaff this morning, I was pleased to find that the trend of employing soulless automatons (see Job No. 80) is not one that has permeated all areas of the business world. Alstom Power Inc. have clearly decided to buck the trend and are looking to adopt a more touchy-feely approach with their advert for a Tender Manager.

Tenderness is, I feel, very much an underrated management style; too often managers are expected to be hard-edged, dynamic and generally authoritarian. Alstom have obviously realised that there is also room for the more caring, empathic manager in the power industry.

I can just imagine this in action...

Bob comes into my office to tell me that the Wind Turbine needed to supply power to a small city isn't finished because he's been too busy updating his facebook page. No worries Bob, I say, you take your time - and why not take the rest of the day off while you're at it? After all, it must have quite stressful to have to come and tell me this...

I think I would make an excellent Tender Manager. And that is, perhaps, why I veered away from it today; frankly, I think I'm just a little bit too suitable.

Instead, I decided upon on altogether more sedentary occupation, in the shape of Centre Chair with Marriage Care. While never having previously considered applying to be a piece of furniture, after having eaten far too much over Christmas I feel that I am likely almost as comfy as a Chesterfield at this moment in time...

I have to say, I think this is an inspired idea on the part of Marriage Care, I am certain led by the current economic climate. After all, if everyone were to employ people as chairs then I am sure that the world's unemployment problems would be solved quite quickly.

The only aspect of the job that I was slightly troubled by was the fact that I have to "support couples". I think this is a bit unfair (not to mention a possible violation of Health and Safety) and so I wanted to broach this subject in my application letter:

Dear Mary

I am writing in order to apply for the position of Centre Chair, as advertised on the Guardian Jobs website.

While not formally experienced in the area, I believe that this something I am naturally suited for and I would not only bring boundless enthusiasm for the role, but also be capable of providing appropriate levels of comfort.

I was curious as to your position on the issue of supporting couples; I tend to believe that it is generally safer to deal with each individual in turn (although this depends upon the size of the problem).

I look forward to hearing from you soon.



So, if you're currently experiencing marital problems, don't worry - I could be supporting you very soon (cushions not inclusive and provided at an extra charge).

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Job No. 84 - Manager of Lesotho National Football Team

I've always had a soft spot for football management. I can trace it back to the moment, as a young boy, that I realised there was one thing holding me back from being a professional footballer; namely that I failed to possess anywhere near sufficient poise, elegance, skill or general coordination to actually play the game well (I can, however, play the game very badly with some style). And so, with my playing career cut short by incompetence at such an early age, it became obvious to me that I should look instead to the heady world of management...

So, when I saw that the well-known footballing powerhouse that is Lesotho were looking for somebody to take over from their current, caretaker, manager I realised that this was surely my moment to seize the footballing glory that has been denied to me for so long.

I'll admit, I wasn't entirely sure where Lesotho was (apparently it's the world's southernmost landlocked country - being entirely surrounded by South Africa) but when I read that it was currently ranked as the 150th best team in the world (a smidgen below Bangladesh, a fraction above Sri Lanka) I realised that this was the job to ease me comfortably into the world of football management. From here, I could look to work my way up the ladder to a Spain or a Brazil...or, if worst came to worst, I could abandon all hope and go manage Wales...

Now, admittedly, Lesotho don't have the most impressive run of form in international competition. They've never qualified for the World Cup and they have a patchy history with regard to the African Nations Cup that seems to involve either not entering, not qualifying, withdrawing from the competition or being banned (for previously withdrawing from the competition). But surely that just sets the stage for a Rocky-like rise from obscurity? All they need is the right man in the job...

I decided to use the same flexibility with the truth that had so nearly seen me take the reins at the Chicago Cubs and rely upon my extensive football management experience (principally gained playing Championship Manager - although I also managed to pick up some useful tactical knowledge playing 'dice football' on the train to school):

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing in order to apply for the currently vacant position of Lesotho National Football Manager.

I am an English coach with extensive experience of success in the English football league (although I have also been involved in European competition) and believe that I have what it takes to bring Lesotho to the next level of footballing excellence. I have cultivated a very hands-on approach to the game from an early age, ever since my playing career was tragically cut short, and have focused instead on the tactical and strategic aspects of the game.

I believe that, with the right coaching and motivation, there is no reason that Lesotho could not be a major power in world football - and that I am the man to bring about that change.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.



I am certain they will be impressed by my experience and pedigree. The only thing that concerns me a little is whether, in real football, you're allowed to save your progress before each game (and start again if you're playing rubbish). I think I may need to follow up on this with FIFA...

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year Update

Is it just me that finds it hard to believe that it is now 2010, a date I previously believed only existed in Arthur C Clarke novels?

Well, I figured a quick update on how things are going was well due but, I can only assume due to the Christmas post, things have been relatively quiet. I received an encouraging, if slightly disappointing, response from my application for an Adult Day Center Specialist. They told me:

"Although your background and experience are impressive, we cannot offer you a position at this time."

I also continued to be upset by my failure to apply to be Director of the NATO Undersea Research Centre - however, my spirits were lifted somewhat when I saw, in the log of IP addresses that have visited the blog, that I have received a number of visits from an IP address that is registered to the NATO Undersea Research Centre. So perhaps, even though I didn't manage to get my application in on time, they are still planning on considering me...